The Orkney Sovereignty Festival
20-27 July 2019.
2019 marks the 550th anniversary of the pawning of Shetland and the 551st of the pawning of Orkney. Both anniversaries have been conspicuously ignored by the islands' councils. The purpose of the Sovereignty Festival is to remind the people and the authorities of the innate sovereignty of the people of these islands.
In the 15th Century, Orkney and Shetland were at the centre of the Viking world. Today they have a pivotal role to play in the modern world. Just as The Ness of Brodga re-shaped archaeological thinking from Anglo-centric to Orkney-centric, what this festival will reveal is the same thing. All eyes are on an Anglo-centric Brexit, but those negotiations will be re-shaped by what will happen when the people of Orkney and Shetland wake up to the power that lies in their hands.
From a historical perspective, and speaking about Shetland because it's what I know best, in 1469 King Christian pawned his lands in Shetland to King James III of Scotland. The King's lands amounted to about 10% of Shetland and that's all he could pawn – he could not pawn somebody else's property. King James got the king's lands held in trust until the Danes came up with the money to redeem them. That's all the Crown has ever had. The same applies in Orkney. The whole story is in my book Stolen Isles.
Meanwhile, the remaining 90%, which all the historians have ignored, were the Lords of Norway. They owned their land outright, they elected their king, had their own parliament and made their own laws. A more complete definition of sovereignty is hard to imagine. It's the rights of those men which have been passed down to the sovereign people of Orkney and Shetland. That's the first aspect of Orkney and Shetland sovereignty.
The second is in the law books. In Scots law:
- The sovereign power is allodial (that means absolute ownership and is usually applied to land).
- The Crown (Scottish or UK) has never owned the allodial (udal) title of Orkney and Shetland.
It's no wonder the authorities have tried to bury the evidence. Orkney and Shetland are in a unique position in having their own sovereignty. That means we own the land and the seas and seabed out to 200 miles. These are key issues for the EU and completely change the dynamic of Brexit. Orkney and Shetland are centre stage, unless we allow ourselves to be pushed off into the wings.
In the 2017 general election I stood on the basis that Orkney and Shetland's power should stay in the islands and not be given away to Westminster. When parliament is dissolved, the power we sent down with the previous MP is briefly returned to the islands. If we don't send it back, it remains with us. I won a greater percentage of the vote than any previous independent candidate and , if I'd won, I would not be going down to Westminster to pledge allegiance to a foreign occupying power!
But the fight goes on. Before the election I had advised all concerned that it would be illegal and a fraud upon the people of the islands to hold a UK election here if it could not be proved that Shetland (and Orkney) are part of Scotland. After the election, every candidate must submit a record of their expenses to make sure nobody overspends and distorts the result. It is a criminal offence not to do so. I did not feel I could compound the fraud, so declined to confirm my expenses.
After 10 months the procurator fiscal decided she must prosecute me. What looked on the surface like an open and shut case only reached the trial stage at year later. The date was auspicious – 29 May 2019. The next day, 30 May, marked a full year after the case started and the day before, 28 May, was the 550th anniversary of the pawning in Shetland.
I am not legally trained and it has been easy in the past for court officials to get the better of me. During the running of the case I have been asking various procedural questions when I thought things might not be running as they should be. The clerk has now been instructed not to respond to any of my communications.
Right at the beginning I challenged the jurisdiction of the court on the basis that Orkney and Shetland are not part of Scotland. The sheriff decided he had jurisdiction without hearing any evidence from me and now refuses point blank to hear anything on that matter.
I cited various witnesses, including two sheriffs, two honorary sheriffs, the clerk of the court, the procurator fiscal and her assistant, the chief inspector of police, the advocate general for Scotland and the solicitor general for the UK, all of whom have evidence which vindicates me. Before the trial, at the request of the procurator fiscal, all my witnesses were excused from attending. This was done at a hearing which had been authorised by some of those very witnesses, which renders that hearing and the trial so far ultra vires (without authority) and therefore void. I have re-cited the witnesses and added the sheriff principal and the prime minister to the list. It is a criminal offence for them not to attend. Nobody is above the law.
The trial was immediately adjourned until 24 July when, in my cross-examination of a key witness, I asked him to read out a letter I had written to the prime minister before the election. You can see the letter here. and form your own conclusions why the authorities might not want it read out. It was followed after the election by more letters which prevent the recipients denying their contents in court.
It was not the end of the court day when the adjournment was announced and there was no court business in the court rolls for the next two days, so it is a mystery why there had to be such a long delay, but it has given time to organise this festival.
The whole issue of access to fair and impartial justice should be of concern to everyone, but the issues I am raising in the court are of special importance to Orkney and Shetland. I have accused court officials of organising false courts and of fraud connected therewith. These are serious allegations, but they are not denied. They relate to the fact that nobody is able to show how Orkney and Shetland are part of Scotland and how Scotland and the UK have no real authority here. Whether you agree with my position or not, the people of Orkney and Shetland deserve to know what their real position is. It is not up to me to tell people what to do, but everyone needs to know where we stand. If it turns out that the current universally accepted position is nothing more than a sham supported by a well nurtured but baseless presumption, the people need to know and should have the opportunity to decide how they want to relate to the rest of the world.
The Orkney Sovereignty Festival will be digging deep into these issues.
The Sovereign Nation of Shetland has no party political or religious affiliations.
Published by Stuart Hill, Ocraquoy, Cunningsburgh, Shetland. Outwith, but near UK.